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50 Years as an Insurance Salesman

50 Years as an Insurance Salesman

Chattanooga Times

Dick Clinton had wanted to be a professional trumpet player, but that didn’t work out.

But after 50 years of selling life insurance for MassMutual Financial Group, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love what I am doing,” said Mr. Clinton, 72. “I’m in this business because I enjoy it, and I truly enjoy my clients.”

He said the business has afforded him the opportunity to meet what he considers some of the nicest people in the Chattanooga area as well as pursue some of his other passions which are evident around his office.

His walls are adorned with a mounted whitetail deer, a mule deer, an antelope and a Dahl sheep, and there is a replica of the 100-plus pound tarpon he caught on a fly rod off the Florida keys.

“It has been a joy being at MassMutual all these years.”

And he still has the opportunity to play his trumpet with the Senior Citizens Orchestra and a jazz group known as Spectrum.

During his tenure, he has had an impact on a number of young salespeople such as Russ Blakely, who credits Mr. Clinton with getting him in the business.

Mr. Blakely said he had reservations about it because of the slick, fast-talking persona he envisioned as the typical insurance salesman, but that wasn’t Mr. Clinton.

“He wasn’t the picture I had of what an insurance salesman was,” Mr. Blakely said. “I thought, ‘I can be like Dick.’”

The two worked together for about six years before Mr. Blakely formed his own company, Russ Blakely and Associates, which primarily focuses on employee benefits.

Mr. Clinton’s and Mr. Blakely’s offices remain next door to each other.

“If I have someone who needs life insurance or estate planning work, I refer them to Dick,” Mr. Blakely said.

Since 1959, Mr. Clinton has seen a number of changes in the industry, such as the type of products offered and the move toward mutual funds and financial planning, which he doesn’t sell much.

“I feel like people have enough risk as it is without their insurance being part of that risk,” he said. “I think life insurance should be a guaranteed thing they can count on. When they go to sleep at night, they don’t have to worry about the value.”

With 50 years behind him, Mr. Clinton is looking forward to many more.

“I will continue doing this as long as I am physically able,” he said.


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Copyright © 2009, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.

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